Thursday, July 20, 2017

And Now It Can Be Told...

Last year I took a position of Maintenance/Automation Manager.
It was a good job.

I was responsible for 6 presses and the robots and other associated equipment, including facilities.
In the first year I brought major savings to the company and contributed greatly to the automation of the processes.
We grew to 8 presses.
Each press has ovens associated with it to heat the steel blanks to 1600 degrees Fahrenheit to press harden the stampings.
This was our core business and we were excellent at it.
GM considered us a preferred supplier.
There was an engineering group that was responsible for bringing in new equipment.
They didn't communicate with us much.
They designed three robotic welding cells that were delivered at Christmas.
(They were over engineered. Too complicated.)
No training, no ramp up, no back up plan.

I have spent the last several months trying to make everything run.
The engineering group quit.
I was in the plant night and day.

There were allegations that my midnight weld tech was smoking dope so HR enthusiastically fired him.
My afternoon and dayshift techs didn't like working 12 hrs 7 days to cover.
So they quit.
I hired others, and after a while THEY  quit.

The company is Korean owned and someone thought it would be a good idea to bring a couple techs from Korea to help.
It might have worked if they spoke english.
Or knew what they were doing.

My boss, the Director of Operations hired a "weld engineer" who I recognized as not equipped for the position. I once did the work myself.
GM and Chrysler also criticized his work, but that wasn't enough. I told my boss on a few occasions that this wasn't sustainable and that his refusal to spend money for good help was killing us.
The weld engineer needed to report to someone who knew welding. Me.
He and I agreed to a plan.
Then he reneged.
Then he told me I misunderstood.
I went to his boss under open door.
His boss told me I hadn't misunderstood because he was aware of the plan.
I had a closed door meeting with my boss where I accused him of lying to me.
He said he hadn't lied, he'd changed his mind.
I told him that he should have informed me of the change of plans as they affected me.
I spent 80 hrs on three shifts a week keeping the place running.
I worked the four day July Fourth weekend each day to cover absenteeism.
The overtime was required because of customer rejections primarily due to the weld quality.
I want to emphasize that I complained to the president about this more than once.

I was continually cleaning up mistakes made by the weld engineer (who was involving himself in programming) and the Koreans who wete on the midnight shift, which sufffered greatly.
Scherie and I were praying for relief, even if they fired me for continually complaining about the stupidity.
July 5th, I awoke after working the weekend, and God clearly let me know that I would be terminated that day.
I was relieved.
And they did.
The guys and ladies who worked for me expressed their regret at my leaving.
Two managers and a quality engineer have quit since and so has the Director of Ops.

God has given me a peace that He will take care of Scherie and I.
He has.
I start my new job a week from Monday at more pay, fewer hours.

Scherie and I are on our way to Connecticut to visit our son Scott whose sub is in port.
I'm burning off the vacation I was owed and could never take.

I've discovered I have a work "jones".
The first couple weeks, I was in withdrawal,  dreaming of being in work situations.
That's gone now.
Now I look forward to working with new faces and new processes.
God is good.


  1. It is that door and window thing. God is pretty good at it, don't you think?

    1. I'm surprised it's not a bible verse. :)
      Maybe a paraphrase.

  2. Glad to hear you are thriving through adversity.

  3. It's always good to hear a praise report. God is indeed "good at it" - and thank you, Vicki, for that phrase. :)

  4. Ed, EXCELLENT. I was going to advise you to quit without notice. Like you were going to get a good review...
    Every time I've left a job I've always done better though on a couple occasions I had a brief pullback.

    Great news. That company needs to go out of business and without you working 80, it sounds like they will.

    1. Kid, "Every time I've left a job I've always done better though on a couple occasions I had a brief pullback."
      Story of Joseph in Genesis.
      More than once, stepped back only to be oromoted.

    2. Yes, I read an earlier post and I thought, wow this all sounds too much.

  5. God has a plan. Things work out like they are supposed to. Sometimes it is painful for us mortal pieces of clay

    1. Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

  6. You put so much of yourself and your integrity into that work situation. It's always amazing when such efforts are not valued by the people who benefit from them.

    How good to hear that you are free of them, get a nice vacation and then get to use your skills somewhere else.

    Hard story with a great ending!

  7. God works in mysterious ways... Best wishes in the new job!

  8. Glad to hear you landed on your feet....much stress I am sure.

  9. Glad to hear that things worked out. A friend had a saying, "The work is never hard. It's People who MAKE the work hard."

  10. Good man Ed. The hierarchy is not such a rational thing, more part of that brute nature.

    1. Brute is right.
      Also, sometimes the emperor doesn't want to be told about his new clothes.

  11. Sounds like the MBA's and HR got involved in production.
    New is good and the reduction of stress is better.

    Sorta off topic, the job and company before my last (retired from) job was going south. At about a 11:15 on a Friday night, my boss opened the door into machinery control space where I was working. He then said " I heard you were leaving, any idea of when?" and I said "in fifteen minutes". Hey, they had all weekend to find a replacement. Oh, it was not the my boss's fault. He is / was a good boss. He left a few month later too. Now further up the management / owner tree was where the stuff started flowing down hill.

    1. The owner (from Korea) liked to think of the company as "family".
      Hey! I've got a brother hasn't spoken to me in years!

    2. Last company I worked for (software mfg) had a 'Partners Group'. When you were drafted into the partners group, you didn't get squat extra compensation or benefits but you were expected to work harder. All this crap come out the 'CEO magazines' - where they justify screwing your employees in a myriad of ways.

    3. PS - Yea, I was a partner.

    4. Here they call it "salary" with no OT.
      I bet Partners Group was a Jack Welch idea.

  12. Yes! I knew you'd bounce. I was able to relate quite a bit to the struggles in your last job, though totally different industry. Backstabbing and lies are universal. Ultimately a blessing when viewed in the rear view - but awfully painful when living thru them. I know I won't kill myself ever again for an employer who takes advantage of work ethic.

  13. I was continually cleaning up mistakes...

    The last school where I worked -- a private school -- was like that. The directors hired incompetent teachers, and, even worse, one of the directors was an alcoholic.

    For a time, between Christmas break and Easter break, I tried to get fired. Nope. The directors were too much enjoying my having to sweep up afterwards. I think that they snickered at the long hours I was working.

    The Lord pointed me in the right direction during the Easter break, when my primary care doctor said to me during an office visit for stress-related troubles, "Either you put your father into a nursing home, or you quit your job. Who do you work for?" I replied. And my doctor knew her! He said emphatically, "Quit your job!"

    I clearly got the sign. So, I know exactly what you mean about definite guidance from the Lord.

    1. And in the middle of it you know you are operating on your integrity and being abused by it, right?

    2. I got very angry -- to the point that the anger ate me up for several months after I left that job. It was the best-paying job I've ever had, and I deeply resented what had been done to me and what I'd had to do as well (walking away).

      But that job was ruining my health and my social life. My marriage was suffering, too. A very stressful time in my life.

    3. Yep. The anger and the stress and the health and the marriage.

  14. Now I look forward to working with new faces and new processes.

    God speed.

    1. Thank you. Actually, I'm apprehensive. :)

    2. Ed,
      Try not to worry.

      Years ago, a man of deep faith said to me, in the kindest of ways, "Worrying means that you don't trust God to follow through. Worry less, trust more." Good advice!

    3. AoW. I had sent Ed a link on FB that echos your thought. If you have a FB account you'll be able to see it.